American vs British Education System

There’s no doubt that there are good schools all around the world with great education systems.

Fiji is known for having the best education system in the world. UK and USA have the best schools and universities which makes these two destinations the most sought after by students all around.

The UK has the famous Cambridge University and the USA has Harvard University as its gems.

The USA is just slightly ahead of the UK as both of them come at number 1 and number 2 spot respectively.

Both countries have a reputation for having a rich and unique history of education which still continues to this day.

These countries produce students who go on to make a name for themselves in the world and increase the prestige of their universities.

Comparing the education system of these two countries seems unfair as education in itself is based on a number of factors and depends on person to person.

There are various factors like the environment, the courses offered, some sentimental attachment, family decisions, etc.

But like how there are differences in everything in this world, the education system in both these countries has differences too.

Start of the School

American vs British Education System

Children in Britain start school as soon as they turn 4 and are given an education that will help them to excel in their future. The mandatory age for learning is 5-16 years old. The “key stages” is the term used to refer to stages or levels of schooling in the UK.

  • Key-stage one is: 5 to 7 years old
  • Key stage two is:  7 to 11 years old
  • Key-stage three is: 11 to 14 years old
  • Key-stage four is: 14 to 16 years old

Age 5 to 11 is grouped as primary education. At the age of 11, a student becomes a second-year student.

Education in USA starts at the age of five years old, a year after those of British children. K-12 education is compulsory in the US , while in Britain, education after 16 is optional.

Education levels are divided into 3 in the USA :

K-5/6th grade is elementary, 6/7th grade to 8th grade is middle school and 9th- 12 grade is high school after which a student can apply for universities.



Uniforms are another point of difference between the systems of Education. Students in the USA do not have a dress code. They wear casual clothes like jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers. A very little percentage of schools have uniforms in the USA but casual clothing is still the rule.

Students in the UK, on the other hand, are required to dress up in proper school uniforms.

Uniforms consist of a jumper, skirts, pants for boys, black shoes, and ties for both boys and girls, and no accessories are allowed.

The students in Britain are to obey the rules of dressing up in uniforms.

Every student wearing the same uniforms gives a sense of unity and teamwork to the students. There are no divisions and everybody feels like a part of the classroom.


British schools address their lunch halls /place as canteen while students in the US address their lunch halls as cafeterias.

US schools tend to have more unhealthy food such as pizzas, burgers, carbonated drinks, etc.

US schools students are also required to stand in a long queue to get their food.

British schools have healthy food for students, which is good. Students are not allowed to eat in their classrooms. They are only allowed to drink water and juice in the classroom.

Extracurricular activities

American vs British Education System

US schools put a lot of emphasis on extracurricular activities. It’s a good thing because focusing on only studies can be boring and monotonous.

Extracurricular activities also help them with their skills, which will help them when they apply to universities.

The UK puts a lot of emphasis on extracurricular activities, but not a lot.

Students are free to choose whatever they want to do and if they succeed in these activities that they have chosen, they can earn something called “tariff points” to get good credit which will help them in the University applications.

Teaching Style

British universities have a more in-depth and deeper way of teaching and imparting knowledge. The studies are more focused and to the point.

The students have to be clear and choose a major from the start so that they know what they want to do and have a clear goal.

US students, on the other hand, have a lot more freedom in choosing their majors. In universities, they are given free time to choose from a variety of subjects.

This way they can gain knowledge in subjects other than their majors which broadens their horizons of knowledge.


This has to be the biggest difference between the two countries’ education systems.

To get a degree in the USA student has to study for four years while students in the UK get their degrees in three years.

This cuts down a year’s worth of expenses. Many students choose UK universities for this sole reason.

Checking up on Students

American vs British Education System

US schools focus more on keeping their students active, so they keep giving their students assignments, presentations, reports, weekly research papers, and projects.

This is also a way to check a student’s progress and improve their way of learning.

Schools in Britain focus more on lectures and on end year exams, which are the most important exams.

Schools there are more focused on the core of the subject rather than assignments.

Cost of Studying

Both countries have high education costs, which seems fair as both these countries have such prestigious schools and universities. America has a higher education cost as compared to Britain.

UK universities charge $14,300 per year according to the law passed in the year 2012.

Charges for students who are not from these countries is higher and more on the expensive end.

US universities charge around $29,000 to $50,000 per year for tuition fees, but also the government gives student loans with affordable interest rates.


There are some interesting differences here. For starters, you cannot have pets with you in the room in UK universities. Pets are not allowed.

USA universities are more flexible with this rule. Also, while US students have to stay as roommates with one another, UK students get a room all to themselves.

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